Last week was my best friend’s birthday, and so we went out in Rockville, MD to celebrate! A recommendation from a coworker, we tried out La Canela in Rockville Town Center. It was just a double date, but I love going to Peruvian places with Tyler since he studied abroad in Peru and can judge authenticity. Two thumbs up from Tyler!
They started us off with an amouse-bouche, or a complimentary chef appetizer. I can’t quite remember what they called it, but it was basically a savory fried pastry wrapped around a ceviche center. It was quite tasty, and the pastry was perfectly crisp and chewy. Since we were celebrating Dorrie’s birthday, we splurged a little and started off with two appetizers: a traditional ceviche de pescado and yuquitas rellenas de cangrejo. If you’re unfamiliar, ceviche is a dish of raw fish marinated in lime juice so the acid just barely cooks the fish. If you’re a sushi lover, this is a great dish to try, and it came with corn and a sweetened sweet potato.
The other appetizer, pictured here with the birthday girl, was yuquitas rellenas de cangrejo, and was the highlight of the meal for me. Yuca croquettes stuffed with crab meat in a delicious sauce and topped with red onions. Basically, a fried dough of yuca (think a firm mashed potato texture) stuffed with a delicious center. I went back for more sauce, and definitely used the sauce for other things throughout the meal as well!
For our meals, we did a great job with diversity. I went for the aji de gallina (chicken), Tyler went for the asado de tira (short ribs), Dorrie went for the arroz con pato (duck), and Dorrie’s husband Karl went for the canillo de cordero (lamb). Everything was delicious. While I do say that peruvian food doesn’t always look the most appetizing, it sure is delicious. The aji de gallina is basically pulled chicken and potatoes in a somewhat unappetizing yellow sauce, typically served with rice. It’s one of my favorite Peruvian dishes Tyler’s introduced me to!
All the other dishes I had a taste of were also great. If there’s one thing I love about Dorrie and her husband, it’s that we’re not shy about offering up food or eating off each others’ plate. I actually really enjoyed the rice served with Dorrie’s duck, a cilantro and beer scented jasmine rice, that reminded me of a light, South American take on fried rice.
This has been one of my favorite Peruvian experiences so far, and while Rockville is a touch too far away to make it a staple, I would definitely venture out to La Canela again! 4.5/5 stars for delicious, cultural food at a reasonable price! Bonus, they validate parking at the parking garages.
La Canela Website
141-D Gibbs Street
Rockville, MD 20850